App Store Analysis: EA Mobile continues its land grab

Now has 15 games in the Top 100

App Store Analysis: EA Mobile continues its land grab
It might seem paradoxical to be talking about EA Mobile in a week where the notable success story on the US App Store is Gameloft's Modern Combat: Sandstorm shooter.

It went live on 3rd September and entered the Top 100 the next day. Despite being priced at $6.99, it currently sits at #14.

It is, of course, the highest placed, 'premium-priced' game. Gameloft's Gangstar: West Coast Hustle (also $6.99) is next highest at #24.

However, while Modern Combat is boosting Gameloft's coffers - indeed the average price of its games in the chart is up 16 percent this week - EA Mobile now has 15 games in the chart. Gameloft has 10.

What's more surprising is EA has accomplished this with relatively cheap-to-develop games based around its Hasbro licences.

In contrast, the individual production costs of Modern Combat and Gangstar will have been over $1 million.

Significantly, EA Mobile keeps the prices of its games high, with the likes of Scrabble and Monopoly costing $4.99. And it's highly reactive to sales volumes, continually varying its prices to drive up revenue.

This week, for example, SimCity climbed 23 places to #49 on a price cut from $4.99 to $2.99, while CLUE jumped 23 place to #53 on a price cut of $2.99 to $1.99. Trivial Pursuit and Yahtzee Adventures also had their prices cut.

99c indies at the top

Still, indie game Geared was at #1 for the second week in a row, while zombie survival shooter Alive 4-ever climbed to #2. PlayFirst's remake of its casual web brand Cooking Dash remains at #3. All three of these games are priced at 99c.

Of course, pricing does have a massive effect on chart position.

Real Racing re-entered at #64 on the back of its weekend $6.99 sale, Capcom's Resident Evil 4 was a re-entry at #21 thanks to price cut from $7.99 to $2.99, and Vivendi's Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D re-entered at #40 thanks to price cut from $5.99 to $2.99.

The other big factor on weekly chart position is whether your game gets support from Apple in terms of being featured on the App Store.

Appy Entertainment's FaceFighter had a Bluetooth multiplayer update and re-entered the chart at #9 thanks to receiving Apple Featured status.

This week highest climber was Gameloft's UNO which jumped a massive 75 places to #8. It's not clear why.

New entries to the chart included Japanese developer Ponos' Mr AahH!! (99c) in at #39, Pangea's Enigmo 2 ($2.99) at #76, and RC Heli - Indoor Racing (99c) at #83.

Nacmo's Pac-Man REMIX dropped out of the Top 100 from #54, as did IUGO's SpyBot Chronicles from #67. And Gameloft lost two games from the Top 100: Let's Golf! and Hero of Sparta.

Average price of top 30 is up

In terms of the average price of the games making up the Top 100, this was $2.45, up marginally from last week's $2.43.

What was interesting however was that thanks to EA Mobile's price cuts and the position of Modern Combat and Gangstar, the average price of the top 30 - which is where the majority of sales are made - was up five percent to $2.79.

Indeed, the top 10, 20 and 30 all had a higher average than last week.

Yet half the games in the Top 100 are priced at rock bottom 99c.

There haven't been any games priced at $9.99 for three weeks now. As previously mentioned, Firemint's Real Racing (which originally was $9.99) re-entered the chart thanks to a weekend sale of $6.99. It will be interesting to see if this price is maintained for a longer period of time.

EA Mobile turns the lever

Together EA Mobile and Gameloft have a quarter of the positions on the Top 100. At the end of July, this was 18 percent.

EA's price cutting has seen a large drop in the average price of its games though; down 13 percent to $3.86.

On the other hand, Gameloft's average price is up 16 percent to $3.79; its highest value since we've been analysing the App Store.

Chillingo's good run seems to be coming to an end. The Wars and Touch Magic dropped out of the chart, and Inkvaders dropped 42 places to #61 and Minigore 55 places to #91.

PopCap Games was down to only two charting titles as Peggle left the chart, but we expect to see it peggling(TM) back soon.

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.